As I share this story with you, keep this in mind – I have a Master’s Degree in Counseling and have been in the Social Work field for nearly 2 decades. Needless to say, I have a lot of tools in my tool box, which is fortunate. If I hadn’t had this kind of background, trusting the wrong Therapist just might have cost me my life.
A few years ago I found myself in a very dark place. My marriage was in tatters, devastated by the latest in a string of my ex-husband’s affairs. Our family of five had been uprooted from the town, school and job that I loved, and had moved 1500 miles away, under the pretense of a new job opportunity for the ex. I had no idea that the real reason for the move was his affair with a married woman. I discovered the truth shortly after the move, and was emotionally utterly destroyed. I was so distraught that my children and I barely recognized the person that I instantly became. Naturally, I did what many people in my position would have done – I got an emergency appointment with a therapist.
I had relocated for my ex-husband’s convenience, moving to an area where I suddenly had no job. My kids were struggling with the transition, and I was completely isolated from my former social circle. In addition to the betrayal of an affair, I was also dealing with the fallout from some very hurtful behavior on my ex’s part.
He engaged in conversations with his mistress, sharing with her photos of me and screenshots of my text messages to him saying disparaging things about my looks, my weight and my intelligence – nothing was off limits. The two of them plotted together to try and throw me out of my home, so that she could move in. To say that my self-esteem was at an all-time low would be the epitome of understatement. Out of necessity, I had sold some of our belongings to pay for the move, then discovered that the other woman was being lavished with gifts. The heartache was nearly too much to bear.
So there I was, falling apart at warp speed. I went to a therapist for help, for my sanity, for my soul. I knew that I needed a compassionate professional ... full article in bio
1 118 minutes ago
Is she not the cutest???? So this pic is deceiving in the fact that I took it last weekend. This weekend my daughter is with her dad and his family. I have to say the empty weekends without my daughter are not easy for me. As a single mom who has her daughter 90% of the time, it’s eerily quiet in my house alone. My life is set up to accommodate a toddler and all the wonderful things that go with that. I also spent over decade being married so having a weekend along leaves me a little lost. To the other divorce folks or single parents, any tips?
2 825 minutes ago
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That time I forced my boys to give me a 3 way kiss before I had to drop them off to go to their dads for the weekend. 💞😍 I work so hard to keep myself busy when they are gone.
But, this weekend they are mine. 🙌🏼 If I could just figure out how slow these next few days down. 🤔
Post divorce many things change. And there isn't one way to move through the grieving process. For me, I know days marking firsts (birthdays, holidays) I need to move softly, give myself space, and be gentle with myself.
Today was another first. This was the day five years ago we got married. It was such a joyful day with friends and family. We had the future ahead of us and the love we shared between us. .
And it wasn't all perfect, however this is how I choose to remember. .
Today was peaceful. I spent the first bit of the morning with quiet tears, shared coffee and conversation; had a lovely session with a client; lunch and a little shopping with my mom; and finally a wonderful call with my mentor. .
I'm listening to music now. Trying to remember the song he and I danced to. But like many things, it's no longer with me... .
So what next? I'm not sure. What I am sure of is I had been dreading this day. And now I realize it was just one more step in the journey of healing. And I'm here. . #divorce#healingjourney#divorcerecovery#love#yoga#grief
Consider future husband’s relationship with ex.
If your future husband has a good relationship with his ex-wife, that is excellent. But if they spend alone time together that is more friendly than you are comfortable with you to need to work through that before you get married.
Its hard as hell being a co-parenting mom. Even after you’ve moved on, even after you’ve blended a family, you’re still one person doing the work for two, burning yourself out and wondering if you’re good enough every step of the way.
So you have two choices: you can fall apart whenever your child goes off for the weekend to the other parent, or you can do you.
It took me a long time to learn to choose the latter, but it has made ALL the difference in my co-parenting journey.
Front Squats for me are the most painful - but so good for overall power - went up to 315 this day - postponing the meet to January - I’ll be 54 by then - watch out younguns grampa is coming for your trophies! - THIS WEEK IN FAMILY COURT - more Romeo and Juliet get an order of protection - honestly it's a friggin epidemic - mom and dad force one of the young lovers - usually the girl - to get an order of protection against the other for stalking and harassment. Meanwhile all the kid did was leave her flowers and a note - in my day it was called pining - give it time he’ll stop - it's just that he's in live with her - but noooo. - in our society kids need things to happen immediately - ”I broke up with him and I want him to go away NOW - I WANT IT NOW!” are you afraid of him? I ask - ”no he's just so annoying” #powerlifting #powerliftinglawyer #squats #frontsquats #heavyweights #familycourt #divorcelawyer #divorce #familylaw #orderofprotection #cassandragullopllc @iron_lawyer
I had an intense and productive day at therapy today, so it's time for grounding and self care. Just for today I gave myself permission to eat whatever the hell I needed in order to take care of my emotional self, so I hit up the gas station for all my most effective grounding snacks. Meredith calls these foods "something that tastes like the opposite of dying on an operating table." Big sugar and spicy tastes are often good grounding for lots of people, including me. Meredith also turned me on to chili verde Tornados. It really helps to have a friend familiar with the path you're walking, and that's what we always want to be for you.
✨ Emma’s Story ✍️
I don’t remember a time when my parents were together.
I can’t say exactly how far back my memory goes, but even in my earliest recollections I had stepparents. A stepdad who is a steady, encouraging believer in my abilities. A stepmom who always can add a bit of lightheartedness to a situation.
Technically, biologically, I’m an only child, but I have six stepbrothers and stepsisters who have always teased me like I was one of them.
I think there’s this idea around blended families that there’s underlying animosity, or that if only the two in the original relationship had made it work that everyone would be better off.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
I remember being eight years old and arguing with people who were much older than me (and who were supposed to be much smarter and more mature than me) about how my step siblings were just like my real brothers and sisters.
That nothing was different except the name.
That you choose your family.
I know I’m lucky. I know that in the grand scheme of things this isn’t really something that is difficult to overcome. That others have grown up in much more difficult situations.
But I’m proud of that eight year old who stood her ground. Who knew in her heart that what she felt was love, and that nobody could tell her differently.
I’m proud of her ability to adapt, and her ability to see past the opinions of others, to keep an open mind in order to be kind.
I like to think that she’s still in me, pushing me forward, unconcerned with the rules the world has written.
When my relationship ended, I felt completely lost. My world was rocked and I had no idea what to do.
I had this person and we created a life together and created a dream, vision and plan. There was a direction we were going and now that was completely gone.
I felt lost, confused and had no idea what to do next. It felt like a death and in a way it was, a death of a dream we had created. I had to allow myself to fully mourn the loss of this dream, this partnership.
When I allowed myself to feel the loss, something hit me, I can do whatever I want. And then I freaked out a little because I had no idea what I wanted.
Most, actually to be honest all of my relationship I considered what my partner wanted alongside what I wanted. I would even change a little of my dreams to make sure it would match or go along with his. I had put my dreams on the side and slowly forgot about them.
Now that relationship had ended it was just me to consider and that felt exciting and scary at the same time. I had to really sit with what I wanted and what would bring me joy and happiness.
I decided to start creating a vision just for myself to really write the things that I had kept hidden, half way expressed and forgotten. I decided to be outrageous with my dream and really let myself explore all the possibilities that I could create. I allowed myself to dream BIG.
I no longer felt lost or confused. I had direction and I knew what I wanted to do next. That was one of the most free and powerful feelings I have ever experienced.
In Brave Bold Woman Project, this is the first thing we do. We spend time in writing out our dreams however crazy they may seem at the time and then we start creating small actions to take to get us there.
In this process our hearts begin to heal a little and we get excited about creating our life and what can be possible for us.
As someone who experiences symptoms of trauma, my larger reactions to normal-seeming things can sometimes zap a lot of energy out of my relationship.
It’s hard to feel good about myself in those moments.
It’s hard to not get stuck in thinking things like “I don’t have enough to offer here” or “I am such a huge burden.”
I know those things aren’t true.
And I refuse to allow my negative self-talk to override the positive things I bring to my relationship.
But still - overriding those negative feelings is really HARD.
I have worked with many couples where one partner feels incapable of offering meaningful support because of their own mental health struggles.
But we can find alternative ways to offer support to our partner when we ourselves are also hurting.
We can offer validation.
We can offer physical touch when possible.
We can offer verbal acknowledgement if our partner has taken on the role of caregiver for us.
If you struggle feeling like you don’t know how to balance things out when your partner brings so much, start with praise.
Start with a humble acknowledgement of all the ways in which your partner shows up for you.
Allow it to not always be perfectly balanced and for that to be okay.
Get curious as to what you can do to bring joy and nourishment to your partner.
Ask them what it feels like to have to carry so much without falling into your own shame.
Emphasize with what they share as if they aren’t speaking about you.
Allow yourself to feel into their struggle with them.
I remember the concept of “the wounded healer” coming up in grad school.
The wounded healer is a person who brings healing to others while they themselves are wounded.
I believe there is so much wisdom and potential in that role.
Especially when we have spent some time integrating it.
A wounded person knows pain from a raw and visceral place inside of them.
They can learn to use that raw pain to reach into and validate the pain of others.
And they can learn to become a balm and a comfort for others even as parts of them might still be bleeding. #coachingwithsilvy
How do you find ways to support your partner, when you are struggling too?
Relationships challenge us to get in touch with the repressed parts of ourselves.
They become a container that puts us face to face with our (hidden) and sometimes unrealistic expectations.
When we begin to depend on someone, our unconscious attachment woundings surface.
Moving from wounded relating to self-aware relating is challenging to say the least.
And particularly so for those who have had deeply painful childhoods.
But if we try to resist this natural process of awakening, this nature process of growth, we will suffer.
We will continue to act out and project our pasts onto our partner.
We will never actually integrate anything.
And while all of that wounded behavior will feel more familiar and (strangely safer) .. we will never feel fully satisfied staying in that space.
The way out of that (hell) is to try on new behaviors.
The way out is by getting curious and subtly changing our dance steps .. particularly during conflicts.
Maybe that will mean asking our partner to point out to us when we become defensive.
Maybe we’ll try taking a time out before engaging in a triggering topic.
Maybe it will require that we actually ask our partner to point out when we (do) show up differently .. and in positive ways.
It’s essential that our partners challenge us.
It’s essential that they help us see our harmful behaviors (without shaming) us.
It’s essential that they aren’t afraid to have boundaries .. or to call us out if we are damaging the integrity of the relationship.
But it’s equally essential that their efforts to challenge us is paired up with acknowledgment .. and sensitivity .. and loving comfort.
We need both to heal.
With those who (only) challenge us, we will grow to fear and be afraid of them.
With those who (only) comfort us, they will not mirror the courage we need to truly face and heal ourselves.
With those who can delicately do both, we have found the most delicious life partner. #coachingwithsilvy